Monday, November 27, 2017

UCSB vs. USF Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

Tuesday, November 28 @ 7:00
Rankings:  (RPI, DC2)
UCSB:  41, 101
USF:  335, 222

The San Francisco Dons have only played three games against D1 competition and have yet to leave the cozy confines of War Memorial Gym.  In their opener, they surprisingly lost by 12 to Long Beach State despite being favored by 14.  They’ve managed low double digit wins against St. Francis and Sac State.
All-in-all, a disappointing start for a team that took the West Coast by surprise last year under then first-year coach Kyle Smith who led the Dons to a 20 win season and 4th place conference finish after being picked last.  USF was again picked by most to finish 4th behind St. Mary’s, Gonzaga and BYU in the WCC.

So far this season the Dons are scoring at 73.2 ppg while holding their opponents to 64 and are shooting at a .430 clip including .317 from three.
Coach Smith likes to run a deep roster and the starters are averaging about 20 minutes per game with only Sophomore guard Jordan Ratinho averaging above 30.  Very different from UCSB in this respect.  Overview of their players that are averaging 15mpg or more:

The Dons are led by Senior Forward Chase Foster (6’7”, 187lb) who is 2nd in scoring with 13.5ppg and first in rebounds at 5 per game.  He can score from outside shooting 8-18 from three. 
Sophomore Guard Jordan Rathino (6’5”, 210lb) was an All WCC freshman and shoots over .500 from the field and leads the team in 3ptrs made (9).  He is third on the team in scoring at 12.3 ppg.
Junior Forward Nate Renfro (6’7”, 186lb)  is the team captain and a glue guy but has been statistically quiet so far.
Freshman Jamaree Bouyea (6’2”, 155lb) has earned the starting pg spot despite his slender frame.  He averages 4.8 boards but has only 3 assists so far this year. From the WCC Don’s preview; “Jamaree Bouyea appears to be a nice point guard with a deep three point shot. Excellent handle and displays great body control in traffic. Pretty good defender. Suspect this kid has a superior basketball IQ. Really anticipates well and knows his personnel. This guy isn’t just a good player, he makes everyone else on the floor better.”
The fifth starter has varied.
The Bench
Another skinny Freshman guard is Souley Boum (6’3”, 145lb) who leads the team in scoring with 14.8 ppg on 7-12 from three.  He is second on the team in assists with 8.  “Average athletism but great first step. Displays a nice three point shot and can get to the basket in a variety of ways. Predominately right handed. Not much of a passer. Looks to score when he has the ball. Appears to know the game well and defends better than most. “

Junior PG Frankie Ferrari (5’11, 179lb) leads the team in assists (11), scores 5.3 ppg  and is putting in the same mpg as starter Bouyea. 

Sophomore forward Remu Raitanen (6’9, 198 lb) from Finland has not shot the ball well but is playing about 20mpg and pulling down about 5 boards.

Junior Forward Matt McCarthy (6’9”, 232) from Australia adds some size to this smaller roster and has started two games.  He has shot 7-12 and is pulling 3 boards per game.  He started 27/33 games last year for the Dons.

Junior Forward Nick Loew (6’8”, 220lb) has shot 5-8 and is pulling 4.3 boards per game.

Preseason Overview of the Dons by WCC fan Jon Ralston:
Coach Smith quite frankly put every other new coach in the WCC in the last 5 years to shame by taking a roster that I quite frankly didn’t like that much and winning 20 games with them by playing a style of basketball that maximized their strengths and minimized their weaknesses. I understand that Gonzaga had a historic season, but if coaching is maximizing your squad’s abilities to be the best they can be then Coach Smith was my coach of the year last year. Now the question is can they sustain last year’s success. It seems like many teams have risen to the 4th place spot in the conference but no one has been able to sustain that level consistently. I see the Dons staying at 4th place, but I’m not ready to say they supplant BYU in the 3rd position. It’s definitely possible, but I’m a believe it when I see it kind of guy and until they actually get over the hump I’m going with the Dons 4th and BYU 3rd. The success of the Dons is obvious; spacing, ball movement, solid team defense, and 3 point shooting. In fact Dons put up an amazing 237 more 3’s than opponents last year. In year two teams are going to run the Dons off the 3 point line and force them to put the ball on the floor. Easier said than done, but to a certain extent the cat is out of the bag and I’m not certain how they’ll respond. The Dons need to rebound better. Poulsen should help in that manner, but it will also need to be a team effort. The Dons will need to take better care of the ball if they hope to crack the top 3 and the Dons will need some more athleticism in the 1-3 positions in order to defend more athletic opponents. The Dons weren’t a great free throw shooting team which will hopefully have improved after an off season of workouts. The Dons also didn’t get to the line as much as they needed to with opponents shooting more than 100 more free throws than the Dons. In terms of trends I’m high on the Dons future, but I see them treading water at 4th for a season or two until they can get a couple more recruiting classes into the fold. I think in year 3 and 4 of the Coach Smith era we’ll see the Dons challenge the top 3 and possibly make the NCAA tournament.

Matchups & Prediction
PG:  Marcus Jackson (backed up by Max, Davis) vs. Bouyea/Ferrari
Name advantage-Dons.  Experience advantage to UCSB.
SG:  Rathino/Boum vs Max H/CT. 
Push.  Max is probably going to be the best player on the court but such a drop off to CT.
Wing:  Foster vs. Gabe
Advantage USF.  Gabe is just not quite 100% where he was before the injury and gives up some height.
F:  Renfro/multiple vs King/Blackmon & Kupchak
Advantage UCSB
F/C:  Multiple vs. Canty/Ami, Hart
Advantage UCSB

Just looking at the stats & individual match-ups  it is very tempting to go with the Gauchos on this one, especially after USF was handled easily by LB.
It seems that the Dons are still sorting out how their new pieces will fit. I am going to go with the Dons not hitting their stride just yet and the Gauchos taking this in their fourth consecutive close game. UCSB 79 USF 76

Official Site:

 WCC Fan Preview:
Hey Guys! (and my overview of UCSB for the USF fans):
How to Watch: ... -sanf.html

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